The conflict between water protectors, industry, and law enforcement at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in the Dakotas is a study in dialectics, at once contemporary and historical, physical and metaphysical, personal and collective. I've been grappling with these conflicts and irresolutions since deciding to travel to Standing Rock in early November. As with everyone I've talked to there or who has made the trip there, I've been disturbed with media misrepresentation of the movement, to which this page is partially a response. I make no pretense to authority - I'm much more interested in gathering as many voices of the struggle as I can and putting them in conversation with each other.
This project is a work in progress. I'm not sure exactly how this will end up, but my general intention right now is to collect a digital oral history of the protest, organizing the voices contextually as I go. Right now, I'm collecting sources; my plan soon is to start sorting through the sources to show context, contradiction, and story. I'll be updating regularly, and will indicate recently added material. Please do feel free to make any comments or suggestions via email, Facebook, or Twitter (all accessible via links at the bottom right corner).
Also, most of the sources below are active crowdsourced projects, so I'm including links to donate. Please consider donating if you support what they're about.
Named for the Seven Council Fires of the original Sioux tribe, this is the main camp of the movement, where I stayed. None of the direct action happens here, but it is the spiritual center of water protector culture, where newcomers go to orient themselves and longtimers stay to gather strength, fortitude, and community. The Sacred Fire is in the center of the camp, and the tribes are gathered around it. "Friends," or non-indigenous folk, set up camp in the circumference around the familial tribes. Their official website is a treasure trove of information and inspiration to get involved, and includes an extensive, often-updated area for donations, including both needed supplies and a general donation fund for the camp set up through PayPal.
Not officially affiliated with Oceti Sakowin but sharing a common purpose, Sacred Stone is a smaller camp closer to the flashpoints of conflict. We actually accidentally went there before finding our way to Oceti Sakowin. The camp has a tighten-woven, perhaps more direct action-oriented warrior culture. Its official website isn't heavy on documentation, but does include both a general camp fund, and at least as importantly a legal defense fund for water protectors who have been and will be arrested.
Voices of Standing Rock
"Intimate interviews with water protectors at Standing Rock, published weekly," conducted by the Iktče Wičháša Oyáte, or Common Man society at Standing Rock, "a band of about 45 men and women who have taken an oath to Serve, Protect, and Tend to the wellbeing of the Water Protectors and Oceti Sakowin Camp...Iktce Wichasa Oyate is not a camp unto itself but lives within Oceti Sakowin where the Seven Nations Council Fire is lit. They take their guidance and directives from the Spiritual Leaders and Elders and answer directly to them."
Their interviews are elucidating and personal, including both indigenous voices and the extended family of non-indigenous friends. You can listen to them a number of ways:
And this is important: They are a crowdfunded enterprise, so if you are looking for a good cause to donate to, you can do that here via YouCaring.
Kevin arrived at camp around the time I was there. I'm still unsure if his last name has one or two t's, but he's become an immensely important voice of witness in his time there, livefeeding the November 20 police attack on water protectors that included water cannons, concussion grenades, and rubber bullets and resulted in almost 200 injuries. He's been active the ensuing weeks in providing footage and commentary on camp culture as well as fallout from that attack, receiving death threats and plenty of trolling for his work. The best way to watch his videos is on his Facebook or Youtube pages, which are where he posts his live feeds. He also has a Twitter feed and a website, but his Twitter feed mostly links to the Facebook stuff and his website so far seems to be pre-Standing Rock material (though it gives a good feel for the place he's coming from). He also has a donation fund for the camp set up through CrowdRise.